Diverticular Disease

What is Diverticular Disease?

Diverticular disease is the term used to describe the conditions of diverticulosis and diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is a condition where the muscular wall of the large intestine or colon contains defects that causes pockets/pouches (diverticula) to form. Diverticulitis is infection and/or inflammation in these diverticula (pockets/pouches).

In Western countries, diverticulosis generally develops in the last third of the colon, while in Asian countries, diverticulosis generally develops in the first section of the colon.

What causes Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

Diverticular disease can be caused by a number of different factors, including:

~ Low fibre diets

~ Genetics

What are the symptoms of Diverticulosis?

Diverticulosis generally is asymptomatic, however when diverticula are present, this disturbs the normal smooth functioning of the bowel and causes symptoms such as:

~ Abdominal pain

~ Bloating

~ Constipation and Diarrhoea

~ Flatulence

~ Blood in faeces

~ Anaemia

What are the symptoms of Diverticulitis?

~ Sharp pain in a specific point of the abdomen

~ Fever

~ Distention (bloating)

~ Nausea and vomiting

When should you get a referral to a dietitian?

~ If you have been newly diagnosed with diverticular disease

~ If you have abdominal pain

~ If you have diarrhoea or constipation

~ If you have recurrent episodes of diverticulitis

What are the benefits of involving a dietitian?

~ Diet prescription to normalise or improve bowel habits

~ Alternate plans for flare ups

~ Plans for gradual re-introduction of fibre-containing foods

~ Minimised abdominal discomfort